This film is based on the 1966 novel “A Painted Devil” by Thomas Cullinan. It is also a re-make of the 1971 film with Clint Eastwood. Well-written and directed by Sofia Coppola, the movie has excellent performances from the four leads, especially Colin Farrell. The cinematography by Phillipe Le Sourdis is also exquisite.
John McBurney (Collin Farrell), a Union soldier, is seriously wounded in a Civil War battle in Virginia. He is discovered by a girl who is living at a secluded school for young women, run by Martha Farnsworth (Nicole Kidman). The girl takes McBurney back to the school, and, despite his being an enemy soldier, they take him in and save his life. Also residing at the school is the teacher, Edwina Dabney (Kirsten Dunst) and a late-teen, Alicia (Elle Fanning).
McBurney is a master of seduction, and, soon, all three women are struggling to contain their previously-repressed sexual desires. The pace is slow, but I think this was necessary to convey the gradual ratcheting-up of the erotic tension. It’s essentially a fox-in-the-hen-house movie, and something has to give. The film eventually turns into a suspense thriller!
I can’t say any more about the plot, but the movie is interesting, although a bit on the slow side. It will work fine as a rental, but it’s good enough to be seen on the BS now. By the way, Elle Fanning has become a beautiful and “beguiling” young woman.